An easy lemon dessert bar recipe made from scratch. These outrageously delicious Sunburst Lemon Bars are made with a shortbread sugar cookie crust and a sweet lemon pie filling made of eggs, lemon juice, and sugar. The crust features a classic bakery-style bar with incredible almond flavor.
Lemon cookies are delicious but these Sunburst Lemon Bars take “lemon love” to the next level. Each bite is like a little slice of heaven baked into an easy sugar cookie bar shortbread cookie crust filled with a gooey citrus lemon pie center.
- sugar crunch top texture on top
- Moist lemon bar, never dry
- Soft lemon center filling
- Full of delicious citrus lemon flavor
- Buttery almond cookie bar crust.
- Well balanced flavors
Lemon one of my favorite flavors to experiential with and when you try this lemon bar, you’ll understand why. These scrumptious citrus lemon pie bars are an early birthday present to myself and I couldn’t be happier to share this from scratch lemon dessert bar recipe.
Lemon Pie Bars
Lemon Bars are the quintessential summer dessert. It’s a popular dessert bar made during the summer throughout the United States. Sunshine Lemon Bars are named after “the sunshine state” of Flordia.
If you’re a lemon fan, this citrus dessert bar recipe is for you. If you love shortbread cookies, then this recipe is for you and finally, if you enjoy simple recipes, this is the one for you! In a matter of minutes, these lemon pie bars come together. Plus, this recipe uses simple ingredients like sugar, eggs, flour, salt, lemon juice, butter, and powdered sugar.
Lemon Sugar Cookie Bar Ingredients
■ FLOUR: I use all-purpose flour.
■ SUGAR: Every cookie bar needs sugar to add sweetness and flavor.
■ BUTTER: Real butter adds a rich flavor to the bars.
■ ALMOND FLAVOR: I love adding almond to shortbread cookie bases. Almond paste adds that flavor without it being overwhelming. Almond paste is sold in most grocery stores and it can be found in the baking aisle near canned pie filling or marzipan. TIP – You can omit almond paste altogether or opt to use a teaspoon of almond extract or simply use nothing at all. No substitution needed.
■ SALT: I’ve reworked this recipe. Originally made without salt, now with salt. Salt enhances the buttery sugar almond flavor and balances the sweetness.
The crust to these Lemon Bars starts by creaming sugar and butter together. Flour is then added to give the sugar cookie crust structure before the lemon pie filling is made.
Lemon Pie Filling
This lemon pie filling is made from scratch. The lemon filling is made with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, eggs, and flour. The eggs make the lemon filling smooth, luscious, rich, and custard-like.
Meyer Lemons VS. Lemons
My lemon pie filling features regular lemons. Because regular lemons are more acidic vs. Meyer lemons, extra sugar must be added. However, regular lemons feature more of a tang. Meyer lemons are naturally sweeter and more balanced. If you’re looking to cut the sugar in this lemon bar recipe, try Meyer lemons.
How to Serve Lemon Bars
■ Dust with powdered sugar
■ Make a lemon glaze and ice the bars
■ Bring to birthday parties. Serve for holidays like Mother’s Day, Christmas Day, 4th of July, Memorial Day weekend, and other holidays.
■ Bring to a potluck with these classic recipes.
■ Serve at a summer bbq party
■ Make them for your friends and family. They will love you for it!
Sunburst Lemon Bars are a childhood favorite and an easy dessert to make for any occasion. I love to make these for Mother’s Day, Christmas holiday parties, and any time I’m craving a sweet lemon dessert. Lemon bars with a sugar cookie shortbread crust are my favorite as a summertime citrus dessert.
Sunburst Lemon Bars
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup powdered confectioners’ sugar
- ⅓ cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- ¾ tbsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup packed almond paste (Optional for almond flavor. No substitution needed if not using.)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup + 1½ tbsp all-purpose flour
- ⅓ tsp salt
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- ¼ cup + 2 tsp fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 4 large eggs
Icing – Optional
- 1 cup powdered confectioners’ sugar
- 2-3 tbsp lemon juice or water
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9-inch baking dish with parchment paper. *Do not use foil for this recipe. If you don't have parchment paper to easily remove bars from pan after baking then proceed with an ungreased baking pan.
- In large bowl fit with a mixer, beat base ingredients on low speed until dough comes together.
- Press mixture evenly in bottom of a 13×9-inch pan. Flatten with spatula. Poke several holes in dough.
- Bake 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown around edges.
- Whisk sugar, flour, salt. Zest and squeeze lemons; remove seeds. Add to bowl. Whisk eggs into mixture until throughouly mixed.
- Remove the partially baked base from oven. Poke several more holes in crust. Pour filling evenly over warm crust.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is light golden brown and the center is mostly set. If the top starts to get too brown, cover with foil and continue to bake until center has settled. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Icing – May dust with powdered sugar or make icing.In a small bowl, combine powdered confectioners' sugar and lemon juice or water. Evenly spread glaze over the top.
Sweet lemon citrus filling with an almond flavored shortbread cookie crust. Topped with a tart lemon glaze. Everyone loves these Sunburst Lemon Bars and they couldn’t be easier to make! If you love tender almond shortbread and sweet lemon filling, you’ll want to grab this recipe and make it today!